Lake City High School girls basketball coach Dave Fealko appreciates good music.
As his team was warming up for its Inland Empire League game Saturday at Post Falls, Fealko was seen frequently clapping his hands and tapping his feet to the music played by the Trojan Pep Band.
Moments after a halftime talk with his team, Fealko walked from the visitor’s locker room and stopped to chat briefly with Trojans band director Tim Sandford.
“You guys are really sounding great,” Fealko told Sandford.
Added Fealko: “A lot of times those people, like coaches and others, don’t get the attention they deserve. They deserved a compliment. I told him (the band director) that I enjoyed listening to them, that they always sound good and they helped provide a great atmosphere for the game.”
By the look and sounds of it, too, the Timberwolves hit a few good notes with their play that night. LC handled Post Falls 65-44 in a tuneup before a showdown Friday at Sandpoint.
Fealko had nothing but praise for his team afterward. He called the T-Wolves’ performance their best in at least a month.
“We picked up our notch from the first of the year,” Fealko said.
The T-Wolves had four days to prepare for the rematch with Sandpoint, which tripped LC 63-60 in mid-December. The winner most likely will capture the league championship and top seed to the regional tournament.
To Sandpoint’s disadvantage is the fact the Bulldogs play a must-win game tonight at home against Lewiston. A tightly contested game will mean the Bulldogs won’t be as fresh Friday as the T-Wolves.
“We just have to play our type of game up there,” Fealko said. “If we go up there and play like we did (against Post Falls) we’re going to be tougher than hell.”
Return to sender
The Post Falls boys basketball team had a wonderful opportunity to make a statement Friday in its Inland Empire League opener at Lake City.
The unanimous preseason pick by the coaches to win the league title, Post Falls played one of its worst games of the season in a 55-47 loss to the T-Wolves.
LC had a lot to do with Post Falls’ poor play. The statements to come out of the game were: 1) The Trojans are going to have to play at their best to win the league, and 2) The T-Wolves are a lot better than most suspected.
The beauty in the victory, the way LC coach Jim Winger sees it, is his team shot 38 percent and didn’t do anything offensively after racing to a 21-8 first-quarter lead.
“The win gives us a lot of confidence,” Winger said. “We have to win games at home with our first three or four (league games). It’s certainly not a time to start thinking about state tournaments or dreaming of championships. But it’s a heckuva big confidence builder and we’re going to build it up as big as life.”
This ‘n that
Intermountain League boys basketball teams won’t be sending Lakeland coach Mike Bayley any sympathy cards for the pathetic scene that occurred Friday during Kellogg’s 75-47 win at Rathdrum. Senior forward John Bierne, who’s gained a reputation for cheap shots, defied Bayley after the coach pulled him off the court Friday after he tried to argue with an official. Bierne ripped his jersey top off and went to the locker room. He emerged later in street clothes. The best place for Bierne is anywhere off the court. Bayley won’t comment about the incident. For good reason. He’d just as soon see it die so he can try to salvage something out of the season.
Bayley, in his fourth season as head basketball coach, has to be wondering if he’s beating his head against a wall. Lakeland has long been known as a football-wrestling school. The Hawk boys basketball teams capture berths to state about every Halley’s comet. Bayley thought he could turn attitudes around and make the basketball program every bit as respectable as football and wrestling. Other qualified coaches before him tried and failed.
The Hawks are 1-8 overall and going nowhere in a hurry. Bayley’s efforts have been admirable, but his first love is football. He’s biding his time for a head football coaching job (i.e., he’s waiting for Hawks coach Terry Kiefer to retire).
The best gym and potentially the best homecourt advantage is at Lake City. The top feature in the sparkling new facility is the student bleachers behind the west basket. That alone will give the T-Wolves a huge homecourt advantage each game. It’s also pleasant to see that LC administrators are allowing students to cheer and be vociferous at games, unlike recent years at Coeur d’Alene. Students will attend games if they can jump up and down and be slightly obnoxious, within reason.